Formation and Repair of UV-Induced DNA Damage

Authored by: Thierry Douki

CRC Handbook of Organic Photochemistry and Photobiology

Print publication date:  March  2012
Online publication date:  March  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439899335
eBook ISBN: 9781466561250
Adobe ISBN:


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Ultraviolet (UV) radiation contained in sunlight may be considered as one of the most frequently encountered deleterious agent for DNA by living organisms. UV radiation has a few positive consequences like the production of vitamin D. It is very likely to have been a major driving force in the evolution on early earth. However, UV exposure results mostly in numerous harmful effects, including induction of skin cancer and skin aging in humans, but also impaired growing in plants or deleterious consequences in the environment. Consequently, UV-induced DNA damage has been a very active field of investigation for several decades. First identification of the cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPDs) was reported in the late 1950s, followed a few years later by that of (6-4) photoproducts. The cellular response to UV radiation was likewise extensively investigated. DNA repair of UV-induced photoproducts was in particular the topic of numerous works, which led among other outstanding discoveries to the elucidation of the mechanism of nucleotide excision repair (NER) through the study of the xeroderma pigmentosum syndrome. The purpose of this review is to provide basic information on the photochemistry of DNA with emphasis placed on the most recent aspects. Information is also provided on the basic molecular mechanisms of DNA repair. More biological aspects of repair and other important topics like mutagenesis or translesion synthesis are not addressed because of space limitations.

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